We witnessed many great individual performances in Week 11, but who of the players delivering them should be on our fantasy radar and who should be kept off? Here are the answers:
ON: RB C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills, $2m.
He did not score, but he performed well against a quality run defense like Miami’s, totalling 130 yards (91 on the ground). With counterpart Fred Jackson doubtful after the concussions suffered a week ago, Spiller should be kept on our radar.
ON: TE Mercedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars, $3m:
If Chad Henne stays at quarterback for Jacksonville, Lewis would be an excellent option at tight end. In yesterday’s contest at Houston, Lewis caught the same amount of touchdown passes that he had scored in the previous nine games (2).
ON: WR Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars, $1m.
Although rookie Justin Blackmon had a huge game at Houston, Shorts proved once again why he has been the most consistent wide out for the Jaguars, catching three balls for 81 yards and a touchdown. In four of his last five games, Shorts has scored double digits in fantasy points.
ON: WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans, $4m.
After recording only two games over 100 yards receiving in his first nine outings, he finally stepped up and had a career performance to play a key role in the Texans overtime win over the Jaguars. Johnson finished the day with 273 receiving yards (club record) and a touchdown to post a monster fantasy figure: 33 points. As crunch time approaches, the elite NFL players, like Johnson, will excel in our fantasy game.
ON: QB Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins, $2m.
Facing the Cowboys great pass defense on Thursday will not be easy, but RG3 was back to his best with four touchdown strikes, 200 yards passing and 84 rushing (26 fantasy points). At Dallas, his running skills will be very hard to stop.
ON: WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $3m.
He had 94 receiving yards at Carolina and showed he is one of the most reliable wide outs in the league with the game on the line. Jackson caught the touchdown pass and the succeeding two-point conversion to tie the contest with 12 seconds to go, sending it to overtime where the Bucs got their fourth consecutive victory.
ON: TE Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $1m.
Looking for an affordable tight end? Clark is being targeted often by QB Josh Freeman and is delivering. Yesterday he caught seven balls for 58 yards, including the touchdown that won the game for the Bucs at Carolina in overtime.
ON: RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals, $1m.
The way the Cardinals passing game is going (41 yards yesterday), rushing is key for Arizona’s offense. Stephens-Howling is answering the call really well. At Atlanta, he carried the ball 22 times, registering 127 yards, a score and 18 fantasy points.
ON: RB Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders, $1m.
While the Raiders starting backs remain injured, Reece is an excellent call because of his rushing and receiving abilities. Yesterday he totalled 193 yards (103 rushing) in Oakland’s loss against New Orleans.
ON: The New Orleans Saints defense, $1m:
Things are settling down in New Orleans and the defense, although giving up yards, is making plays. At Oakland, the Saints sacked QB Carson Palmer three times and intercepted him twice, returning one of them for a touchdown, totalling 21 fantasy points.
ON: The Denver Broncos defense, $1m:
The Von Miller-Elvis Dumervil combo is unstoppable. Miller already leads the NFL with 13 sacks. Against Sam Diego, the pair combined for the four Denver sacks. The Broncos also intercepted two passes and forced a fumble, producing 21 fantasy points.
ON: QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos, $3m.
For the sixth time this season, Manning passed for at least 270 yards and three touchdowns in a game, guaranteeing at least 18 points for fantasy owners who started him.
ON: WR Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers, $1m.
Signed as a free agent three weeks ago, Alexander is assuming the role that Vincent Jackson used to play in the Chargers offense, becoming the big target Philip Rivers can look for down the field. In three games with San Diego, Alexander has 291 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
OFF: WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals, $4m.
Fitzgerald is probably the best wide out in the NFL, but he plays for the wrong team. Yesterday, at Atlanta, he was wide open in the end zone, but John Skelton under threw him. Fitzgerald ended the game with a lonely 11-yard reception.
OFF: TE Ben Watson, Cleveland Browns, $1m.
Yes, all his career Watson has been a good red-zone receiver, but do not get fooled by his two touchdown receptions at Dallas. He only had one in the year coming into the game and will have a very tough outing next Sunday against Pittsburgh’s number 1 NFL pass defense.
OFF: QB Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars, $1m.
He will probably get his first start of the season at Tennessee on Sunday, but the Titans will be ready for him. Henne had a great day at Houston, throwing for 354 yards and a personal best four touchdowns. But when hesitating about putting him on your fantasy radar, think about the following stat: before this season, in 31 starts, Henne had thrown 31 touchdown passes (only one per game).
OFF: WR Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars, $1m.
The rookie had a sensational performance at Houston, recording 236 receiving yards and a touchdown. In his previous nine games, Blackmon had never reached 70 yards. Let’s wait one more week and see how he plays at Tennessee before putting him on our radar.
OFF: K Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers, $2m.
Indoors at Detroit, he could only hit one field goal in three tries. He has missed seven of 18 attempts in the season. Things will even get worse for Crosby as the season end approaches, kicking at Green Bay under hard weather conditions.
OFF: QB Nick Foles, $1m, and the whole Philadelphia Eagles passing offense.
In his first NFL start, Foles was awful throwing for only 204 yards and no touchdowns (6 fantasy points) against a defensive unit that came into the game ranked second-worst in the league against the pass. The Eagles dropped their sixth straight and things do not look good at all in Philadelphia for the rest of the season, especially for its passing offense.
OFF: TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Partiots, $4m.
He played a sensational game against the Colts, grabbing two more touchdown passes to reach 10 for the season (7 in the last four outings), but broke an arm and will very likely miss the rest of the regular season.
OFF: WR Julian Edelman, New England Patriots, $1m.
He had a stellar performance against the Colts scoring on a punt return and a reception, and adding a 47-yard run, to collect 21 fantasy points. Anyhow, Edelman will not be the player featured the most in the Pats offense in New England’s Thursday visit to the Meadowlands.
OFF: QB Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers, $1m.
Thanks to a 31-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, his fantasy figure against the Ravens (15 points) was decent. Anyhow, things do not look well for the near future: Leftwich could not get Pittsburgh’s passing offense going, completing less than half of the passes he attempted and gaining only 201 yards.